The main energy companies met last February 2 in Barcelona as part of the III FUNSEAM International Symposium, organized at the Barcelona Science Park and inaugurated by the Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism, José Manuel Soria.
The objective of this energy event, with a marked focus on markets, energy infrastructure and sustainability, was to draw conclusions that will help develop new designs in energy policy. The symposium was held for two days. The first day had a markedly entrepreneurial character, while the second day's meeting brought together leading academic experts on energy and sustainability matters.
The opinion of the government and the business community.
The minister José Manuel Soria stressed the importance of the "economic and financial sustainability of the energy system" as the key to “the attraction of investment and job creation".
In this sense, the government's concern has been reflected, as stated by José Manuel Soria, in reform measures undertaken by the sector. Policies for energy and environmental sustainability are also of concern, as the minister said. In this regard, the government has developed the National Plan for Energy Efficiency 2014-2020, which includes a series of initiatives for a 20% reduction in energy consumption. Finally, the ministry emphasized the need for the energy system being able to offer more competitive energy prices with which to compete on an equal footing with the industry elsewhere in the world.
The minister also made special mention of the work FUNSEAM develops with the publication of the Observatory of Corporate Social Responsibility, where the successes of energy and infrastructure companies in the indices are gathered.
Antonio Llardén, president of Enagas, presented Jose Manuel Soria highlighting the "triangular market, sustainability and competitiveness" and claiming that "economic recovery happens, in part, by initiating a process of re-industrialization" which will require the energy sector "to offer cheaper energy from energy companies", a point on which they are working.
ThePresident of the Energy Club, Pedro Miró, raised the main challenges in the energy sector highlighting the fall in oil prices, the US role in the exploitation of shale gas, the agreement between China and the US to reduce emissions and the difficulty of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine for security of supply.
Miró also emphasized the importance of competitive prices and the development of energy resources within the scope of the EU. At the Spanish level, Pedro Miró urged work on 4 basic points to maintain progress in improvement in the energy sector. The president of the Energy Club stressed the need to further strengthen interconnections; also to develop an energy policy with clear objectives in the medium and long term, strengthening the process of market liberalization and consumer protection and finally, disseminating information on such progress and measures within the sector.
The president of Siemens Spain, Rosa Garcia, spoke of the relationship between energy and new technologies, with emphasis on the role of self-regulation to achieve sustainability. Rosa García stressed that the challenges faced by the energy sector are based on excess capacity, energy prices, climate change and citizen response, and that a solution will only be found with the addition of new technological developments.
Dual energy market/sustainability issues were central to the presentations on the first day of the symposium, especially now that European institutions have set new targets to meet environmental and energy challenges by 2030. The Deputy Director General for Energy of the European Commission, Christopher Jones, advocated continuing with the measures undertaken by the EU.
Jones recognized that "there is still a long way to go until we reach the objectives of energy sustainability", and pointed out the need to stay on the path of energy efficiency, greater inclusion of renewable energies and to keep working on the construction of interior energy markets.
Some tables addressed the challenges for energy markets, interconnections and transport infrastructure, distribution and the competitiveness and sustainability of various projects carried out in Latin America. The most significant conclusions were that currently wind projects should have competitive market prices compared to conventional generation technologies.
Antonio Brufau, president of Repsol, stressed that it will not be possible to achieve greater competitiveness in energy markets if it is not regulated in favor of sustainability. Brufau chaired the closing session, which was conducted by Francisco Salazar, president of the Iberian-American Association of Regulators of Energy and the Energy Regulatory Board. His lecture "Energy reform in Mexico" explained the key points to the opening up of the energy sector in Mexico to private capital.
According to Salazar, such reform provides a "significant business opportunity for foreign companies and especially to Spanish companies." Mexico is one of the ten largest oil producers in the world, and privatization of the sector will mobilize billions of euros, not only for the granting of private equity holdings, but through new investments in transmission and distribution.